Looking for the best things to do in Zakynthos, Greece? With the help of local insider Dejan Kvrgic, we’ve created the perfect Zakynthos (also known as Zante in its Italian name) travel guide to help you plan your trip!
While each and every Greek Island is beautiful, Zante, in particular, has another side – value that you might not expect when searching the brochures.
Where do you go when searching for fun in the sun, beautiful beaches, and cocktails by the pool? The island of Zante of course. Also known as Zakynthos, Zante holidays are fast becoming a great alternative to the likes of Santorini or Crete.
Zante, (aka Zakynthos) is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. Zakynthos is the third largest of the Ionian islands, that is growing in popularity each year.
Things to do Zakynthos Greece
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Zakynthos is known as a “Party destination” and the party-packed holidays are awesome. But on the other hand, the island has so much to offer other than partying all day and all night.
There are many things to do in Zakynthos, and I wanted to share other reasons to visit my island this year!
1. Blue Caves – Amazing scenery.
One of the best things to do in Zakynthos is to visit the Blue Caves. These natural arches have been carved out by erosion, and are famous for the vivid color of blue water in its deepest hollows. The deep blue azure color is best viewed in the morning by boat or you can get out and go snorkeling.
You can hire a small private boat or take a tour of the many famous sites along the coast where you have the option to go scuba diving and snorkeling. Avid scuba divers will love diving through one of 400 caves around the island but they are also popular for snorkeling, swimming and sightseeing on a boat tour.
Your holiday on the island most certainly should include at least one trip on the water to explore the beauty of Zante.
*Note: – cruises around the island last around 9-10 hours, so you be prepared for a long and beautiful day*
2. Navagio Beach – Shipwreck Beach
Located on the north-east part of the Zakynthos, this cove is surrounded by rocks that are 900 feet tall. Navagio Beach has become the symbol of the island and has become one of the top things to do in Zakynthos. The amazing view gives me the chills whenever I see it.
Shipwreck Beach is is accessible only by boat. You can book a small private excursion directly to the smuggler’s cove.
There is a large shipwreck on the beach, that was stranded on the white sands while fleeing from the authorities. In 1980, authorities chased a boat suspected of smuggling cigarettes and drinks, sailing off the coast of the Ionian Sea.
Even though it wasn’t grounded until 1980, the ship itself is an old ship from Scotland dating back to 1937 adding even more character to the scene.
The sea is absolutely stunning, and the white sand is like white chalk decomposed from large rocks around it attracting thousands of tourists each day during the summer season.
View of Navagio Beach
The best photo opportunity is from the lookout from the top of the cliffs. This view can be accessed by car or a van. It’s crowded in the high season but in the off-season, this place is a wonder of nature that gives chills to the bone.
For the true thrill-seekers, there’s even skydiving and professional base jumpers who come to Navagio Beach each year to jump from the 200 meter high cliffs.
Snorkeling is the most popular sport on the island of Zakynthos (football is also popular with a professional football club) and it is one of the most interesting and adventurous things a visitor can do in Zante.
From absolute beginner to experienced divers, you can set out on an adventure to explore the depths of the Ionian Sea. The crystal clear waters of the gulf that surrounds the main island of Zakynthos are pristine. There are many sea caves that lure you inside for some of the most unique snorkeling experiences you’ll ever have.
If you aren’t up for snorkeling, you can also book a glass bottom boat tour. These tours
5. Loggerhead Sea Turtles of Laganas Bay
The island of Zante is one of the best places in the world to find the famous Loggerhead sea turtle. (Caretta-Carreta Turtle)
The loggerhead sea turtle is an endangered turtle, but Zakynthos is a nesting area for them and they lay their eggs on many of its beaches. Visiting places, where turtles lay eggs are prohibited for tourists as they are protected by Zante authorities. (Kalamaki beach is the main beach where the turtles lay their eggs, and when they are there, Kalamaki Beach is off limites. The region between Laganas and Kalamaki Beach also has some restrictions.
You don’t need to see them laying eggs through, this huge gentle turtle can be seen swimming at Laganas Bay. If you book a snorkeling or diving trip on Zakynthos, you have a good chance of seeing Caretta-Caretta turtle. Trust me, the enjoyment when you see one of those will give you goosebumps.
Marathonisi – Turtle Island
If you don’t want to go snorkeling, another popular way to see the turtles is take a glass bottom boat. Glass bottom boat tours also stop on the island to enjoy its sandy beach.
6. Keri Caves
Just outside of Zakynthos Town are the Keri Caves. If you are an avid scuba diver, the caves are very popular to explore. If not, one of the best things to do in Zante is snorkeling at the Keri Caves. White sea cliffs reach up from the clear azure waters making for a spectacular day trip.
Like most of the popular snorkeling spots in Zakynthos, you can also go via glass-bottom boat. The waters are so clear, these are very popular on the island. And a Keri Caves tour stops at Turtle island to spot sea turtles in the crystal clear waters.
7. Banana Beach
The golden sand beach of Banana Beach is the longest beach in Zakynthos. Located in the Greek National Marine Park, this beach is famous for its rows of chairs under sun umbrellas.
8. Porto Limnionas
There’s no shortage of scenes of white sea cliffs plunging into crystal clear waters along the coast of Zakynthos. And Porto Limnionas is one of its stars. It is considered the best swimming spots in Zante that was once undiscovered.
People are starting to know about it, but that doesn’t take away from its beauty. There are chairs with beach umbrellas to rent and the Limnionas Tavern offers a lovely view of Porto Limnionas.
9. Horseback Riding
There are plenty of outdoor activities on Zante including horse riding on the beach, (highly recommended!) The Laganas horseriding center offers rides through sand dunes, forests, and the beach with an unforgettable experience swimming with horses in the Ionian Sea.
8. Laganas Beach Party
The island of Zante is not called “The Party Island” for a reason. The main part that gets this attribute is a resort called Laganas. There are a vast number of clubs, bars, and restaurants placed here for a reason.
This is the epicenter of all the parties. The crowds rush to hit the strip every night from 10 p.m. and party in packed clubs until morning. The vibe and energy pulses in every direction and it is easy to go bar hopping all night long.
Many bars have themed parties where they pour neon colors on people, bathing in huge amounts of white foam. And the clubs put on special fireworks displays almost three times a week. So you get the idea of the atmosphere and vibe that you can experience on Zante here.
10. Agios Nikolaos Beach aka St Nicolas Beach
It is not a surprise that Zakynthos is one of the best islands in Greece for a party. And St Nicolas Beach is another party beach on Zante. Located about 30km west of Zakynthos Town, is a typical tourist beach with plenty of water sports and sun umbrellas.
11. Relaxation on Zante
Zante is a party island but there are many places where you can relax, away from the crowds and the noise.The island doesn’t have to be that much “Party” as it is mentioned in the media.
Many of the resorts are scattered on the quiet parts of the island, and with it only being 410 square kilometers, you can go from one end to the other in few hours of driving. Many places offer a peaceful environment, where you can chill out, and shake your stress away just listening to the sea.
Some of the best places to relax in Zakynthos are:
12. Museums & History
The island of Zakynthos also has many historical attractions. The rich history of Zakynthos dates from 1600. B.C. One of the most famous people who lived in Zakynthos was Dionysios Solomos. He was a native of Zakynthos and Greece’s national poet, who wrote the Greek national anthem.
The Town of Zante (Zakynthos Town) contains two of them. One of them is the remains of the Venetian Castle located and if you take a hike up from Zante Town, you’ll discover the Venetian Fort that dates back to the 15th century.
Other Museums and historical places on Zante are:
- Roma Mansion – This 17th-century mansion survived the earthquake of 1953. It hit Cephalonia and Zante, practically destroying both islands, with only a few buildings that managed to survive the impact.
- Monastery of St. Denis – In the mountain village of Volimes, you’ll find the Monastery of St Denis. St. Denis was the patron saint of Zakynthos who was born on the island in 1546.
13. Zakynthos Town (Zante Town)
As mentioned above, much of Zakynthos Town was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake, but it is a nice place to wander, do some shopping and eat some traditional Greek food.
Things to see in Zante Town are Agios Dionysios, The Venetian Castle above the city that offers beautiful views from the village of Bohali and the Byzantine Museum which houses a replica of the town before the earthquake.
14. The people of Zante
We Greeks are really nice, polite, and great hosts. We are happy to help and give you the best service anywhere. Often times you’ll find that you’ll receive a gift, just to make you feel more comfortable. We love to strike up a conversation and you’ll instantly feel like an old friend. Hugs are also a common.
The experience of having Greek friends has many advantages over the normal “tourist”. You may receive special treatment, or get free stuff. Many times the people of Zante will treat you to free drinks in bars. So what are you waiting for? Make friends in Zante today!
15. Shopping on Zante
Olive oil, wines, hand made carpets, ceramic statues of Greece historian symbols, the small turtles, and many more.
The best thing about the holidays in Zante is that chances are you will meet somebody new, interesting, and experience some great things.
The Greek Cuisine of Zakynthos
Greeks are great gourmands. Their food is one of the most delicious ones you will ever taste in your life, especially on Zante. No matter what are your preference is. As a part of their hospitality, Greeks load so much food on the plates. It’s literally unbelievable. So, food lovers, this island will be like heaven to you.
Anywhere you go, there is a beautiful smell of fresh food, great oil (one of the most produced products in Zante) as well as a great atmosphere in restaurants, where you can experience fire dancing, and plate smashing.
(Those are common Greek traditions) With the expansion of tourism on the island lately, the gourmet side of it is blooming almost everywhere.
The best part of this – the food is affordable in Zakynthos, and Greeks take their hospitality and level of service to another level, so they will get you the best of the best, just to show how they value your visit and choice to eat at their tavernas & restaurants.
How to Get Around Zakynthos Greece
There are many ways to explore the island. You can go hiking, ride a bike, or take a small train to explore the resorts on the island.
You can also rent a motorcycle, quad bike or a car to do your own exploring.
So now that you know everything about Zakynthos, let’s get ready to make new friends. There is no better reward in life than this. This is why we travel, and this is what keeps us going.
“Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away.”
And these are the best things to do in Zakynthos, Greece. Have you been to Zante? If you are planning to come, stop by for a visit and say hello.